How to Lower Your Anxiety in Stressful Situations
Have you been feeling stressed and anxious lately? Don’t beat yourself up about it because it’s a natural reaction to difficult times.
Stress isn’t all bad. It can motivate us and inspire us to take action. Without them, some people might not even get out of bed in the morning. Stress reminds us to react to life. However, your response to stress can increase or decrease your anxiety, so paying attention to how you respond is important. Reacting negatively leads to increased feelings of tension and anxiety. So how can you remain neutral or respond positively instead?
Here’s a simple visualization: Imagine the ghost as if it were a boiling tea kettle full of steam. To stop the noise, release the steam little by little and do this continuously. Whether you are more or less stressed than everyone else is less important than how you deal with it – or rather, don’t deal with it. How you respond to stress can set the tone for your entire day and interactions with other people.
Stress is a signal to start coping exercises. Try a stress management statement first, an affirmation like “It’ll be alright” or “It’ll be so easy.” These positive statements have the power to reduce anxiety. People often overlook these types of coping mechanisms because they seem too simple. But sometimes simple is the best option.
After using coping statements, face the stressful situation. Your stress level is likely to increase, so keep using stress management statements (positive self-talk) to redirect your thinking. Some self-soothing tricks include imagining your last vacation or thinking about where you plan to travel. Let your mind wander to happier places to detach. Thinking and/or talking about things unrelated to what is causing your stress will ease your tension.
Deep breathing and relaxation exercises also help. For example, if you’re going through a stressful medical exam, it helps to relax while the doctor talks you through it. Listen, but close your eyes if you wish and take deep breaths. At the end of the procedure, reinforce your success with the experience by giving yourself a mental pat on the back. This will remind you how well you did and make you even more relaxed next time. Saying to yourself, “I did very well. Next time it will be child’s play!” also works.
Being prepared for stress can help you deal with it better so that you are less anxious in the moment. The above exercises create a waiting pattern for fear. Once you have even the slightest bit of success with them, you will want to use them again, as achieving and maintaining self-sufficiency are positive additions to anyone’s life.